Over a million North Americans opted for dental braces in 2015. This statistic is twice as high as the number recorded in the past two decades.
Dental braces are fixed orthodontic appliances that can address buck teeth, crossbites, underbites, open bites. They can also assist with misplaced midline, spacing, crowding, and jaw joint disorders.
Additionally, braces can help prevent tooth decay, gum recession, deterioration of oral bones, bleeding gums, and enamel deterioration. Eating and speaking problems can also be resolved with this appliance.
Also referred to as orthodontic cases, dental braces are composed of brackets placed on each tooth, bonding used to attach a bracket to each tooth, and an archwire.
Braces gradually move the teeth by applying steady pressure over time. The pressure and movement will then lead to alteration of the bone in form.
Orthodontic treatment usually lasts an average of 18 to 24 months, depending on the severity of the case.
Although dental braces have straightened teeth since its formal invention in the early 1800s, and millions have attested to its success, the orthodontic treatment is most effective with proper care.
While wearing braces, it is important that the patient gives extra attention to their oral health as dental braces can pose difficulty in properly cleaning the mouth.
To ensure good oral health while wearing braces, practice the simple reminders below:
Brush every after a meal: Plaque and food have tendencies to accumulate and get stuck when wearing braces. Form the habit of cleaning the teeth every after a meal to avoid the food particles from lingering in the mouth. However, brushing must not be done immediately after a meal. Instead, wait at least 30 minutes after your last bite to allow the mouth to neutralize its acidity.
Use an interdental toothbrush: A regular toothbrush can be helpful in cleaning the teeth. However, it is best to also invest in an interdental brush while you are under orthodontic treatment. Interdental brushes reduce interproximal plaque more than flossing. They are also useful in cleaning above and below your braces’ wires and around brackets.
Rinse with mouthwash: Rinsing with mouthwash can eliminate food particles and bacteria that brushing and flossing may have missed. Mouthwash comes in different variants suitable for various needs.
Avoid sweets: While under orthodontic treatment, orthodontists advise staying away from certain foods. Topping the list of nos are sweets, particularly candies. Sugar consumption can increase the prevalence of tooth decay that is detrimental to oral health.
4 Things We Can Learn from #growingupwithbraces
Getting braces when you’re a teen can sometimes feel like the end of the world. Especially at school. Suddenly, you find yourself with these strange metal contraptions jutting out your mouth. And there’s no chance of hiding it, either—if it’s not your smile that gives it away, it’s the way you speak. First-timers might find that the sensation can take a lot of getting used to, mainly when you eat or speak. Any attempts to do so ranges from slight discomfort to the mildly horrifying. The experience is so ubiquitous that people have taken to Twitter to recount their best and worst experiences #growingupwithbraces.
Social media is a funny thing, in a sense. In the absence of a physical collective, it stands in as a collection of the hopes, fears, and worries of a particular demographic. And in the case of #growingupwithbraces, it’s the travails of eating after a tightening session and getting stabbed in the cheek from a stray braces wire. And while it’s all good fun, for the most part, there are some things we can learn from these experiences.
Whether you’re about to get braces for the first time or an orthodontist with a penchant for surfing the web, it’s always helpful to know what to expect. And, if possible, know what could be improved on. That said, here are a few things you could gather from #growingupwithbraces.
- Getting a dental impression isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be
The #growingupwithbraces Twitter has made its verdict, and it is this: dental impressions are officially the worst. The taste isn’t mainly the best thing in the world. You can’t help but feel there’s something not quite right once it’s put in place. And you still have to wait for the icky stuff to set. Unfortunately, they won’t be going away any time soon—they’re essential for building whatever restoration you need, braces or otherwise. Fortunately, you might not need to slog through this for long. Currently, there’s been work on the way to take digital dental impressions, where images of the teeth are used to create an impression. The technology still isn’t very widely circulated, however, and still needs a few tweaks. Nonetheless, hopefully down the line, this method should make getting braces a little less nasty.
- Being cut with metal wire is more common than you think
Braces injuries are no fun—especially if they’re a literal hole in your mouth. One of the hardest things about getting braces is when the orthodontist forgets to cut off the wire, leading to a mild case of impalement. Bottom line? Don’t forget to cut the extra cord—your patient will forever be grateful for it.
- Eating after braces tightening is the worst
Once you get braces, you’ll find you’re cut off from a lot of things. Eating your favorite food is, unfortunately, one of them. Attempting to do so post-braces—and after getting them tightened—will most likely feel like punishment. While most people may opt to binge all their favorites as a way of saying goodbye, this period of your life doesn’t need to be all that terrible. Making a list of food you can and do want to eat can alleviate much of those braces woes.
- Sometimes you eat the things you shouldn’t
Sometimes the lure of food proves too strong, and you end up breaking your brace brackets on something you shouldn’t have eaten. When this happens, chances are you might feel a bout of guilt before your follow-up appointment.
Sure, it can prove to be a significant setback on your progress, but not all is lost. Despite everything, your orthodontist will most likely understand. And you will be able to bounce back from it eventually. But just in case, you might want not to do it again the next time.